I felt Laura’s fingers caress my shoulder. In a little while, I realized that Laura was playing, very gently, but it was a game: her pinkie was sunbathing on my shoulder, then her ring finger would pass and they’d greet each other with a kiss, then the thumb would appear and both pinkie and ring finger would flee down the arm. The thumb was then king of the shoulder and would lie down to sleep; it seemed to me that he even ate some vegetable that was growing there, for the fingernail dug into my flesh, until the pinkie and the ring finger returned, accompanied by the middle and index fingers, and all together they would frighten the thumb, who hid behind an ear and spied on the other fingers from there, without understanding why they’d thrown him out, while the others danced on the shoulder and drank and made love and, out of sheer drunkenness, lost their balance and fell off the cliff and down the back, an accident Laura would take advantage of in order to hug me and lightly touch her lips to mine; in the meantime, the four fingers, terribly bruised, would climb up again, clinging to my vertebrae, and the thumb would observe them without ever thinking to leave his ear. — Roberto Bolaño: “Mexican Manifesto” : The New Yorker
I wrote these songs in San Francisco, in my bay-windowed room overlooking the corner of Page and Laguna. We had tried to have a seance there once when I first moved in, but all that happened was we all got incredibly cold. And then remembered that we lived in San Francisco. Even August is cold. My corner overlooked the many crack and prostitution deals going down, as well as the orderly lines of zen monks from the zen center, proceeding serenely towards the health food store. — Lida Husik on writing the songs for her second LP Your Bag from 1991. I now live at this very corner.
We drove to the end of a block and Saunders pointed out a run-down house with a basement apartment that had a couple of small, dark windows and a broken concrete patio. It was a grim-looking spot. “That’s where Dave wrote ‘Infinite Jest,’ ” he said. “There should be a plaque there. — George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year - NYTimes.com
I think I hadn’t really understood poverty until I witnessed families with third generation unemployment and poor literacy buying the shiniest gadgets and shoes with the help of catalogue accounts, bingo winnings and cash in hand ‘odd jobs’. I hadn’t understood the marginalised until I sat beside children who were on so much medication they couldn’t sit still, let alone listen or look you in the eye. Who had witnessed so much cursing and negative criticism in their relationships that they couldn’t take a compliment or praise without insulting one of their peers at the same time, who couldn’t watch a football game without punching a door or a table, who never knew what time it was and just kept knocking at the door because no-one was dropping them off or picking them up, let alone knew where they were. […] I came to understand poverty as not such a money based issue, but perhaps a poverty of conversation, positivity, compliments, esteem, routine, stability and time. — Under My Skin: some of my ‘Me & the Lower Newtownards Road’ story… | harrietlong Thoughts on the central role poverty plays in the continuing and recent troubles in Belfast. But could these observations not be applied to any community suffering from as much?
I want to be more expansive. If there are 10 readers out there, let’s assume I’m never going to reach two of them. They’ll never be interested. And let’s say I’ve already got three of them, maybe four. If there’s something in my work that’s making numbers five, six and seven turn off to it, I’d like to figure out what that is. I can’t change who I am and what I do, but maybe there’s a way to reach those good and dedicated readers that the first few books might not have appealed to. I’d like to make a basket big enough that it included them. — George Saunders on reaching readers as quoted in George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year in NY Times Magazine. Oh, and that photo of Saunders playing guitar in 1981. Wow.
The writer Julian Barnes, considering mourning, once said, “It hurts just as much as it is worth.” It hurts just as much as it is worth. What an arrangement. Why would anyone accept such a crazy deal? Surely if we were sane and reasonable we would every time choose a pleasure over a joy, as animals themselves sensibly do — Joy by Zadie Smith | The New York Review of Books Smith on the difference in worlds between pleasure and joy, a distinction I’ve not before pondered.
Somewhere in Portland, there’s a very old building, and that very old building has a very, very old basement. An incredible basement, a video-game-level basement, a set-decorator’s dream basement. — The Basement by Cabel. A wonderful photographic trip into the matrix of historic printing machines, contemporary data flow and pinup girls.
the dominant building blocks of Sichuan cuisine—Sichuan peppercorn, with the numbing property known as ma, and red chile, with fiery heat known as la, the yin and yang of a venerable centuries-old cuisine—are essentially drugs. They leave you coughing like a bong hit; buzzing like a line of coke; blasted skyward like a volleyball, and then spiked down into the dust, a speedball of spice. —
SF’s Mission Chinese Food hits NYC.
Danny Bowien Interview - GQ December 2012: Restaurants Bars: GQ